How To Do The Goblet Squats

by T C on July 4, 2014

goblet squatsGoblet Squats has been widely known to be popularized by the well-known strength coach & Master SFG Dan John and according to him the goblet squats is an excellent exercise to teach the squat pattern. Goblet squats is also great for loosening up tight hips from long hours of sitting and improving hip mobility. BTW, if you have pretty locked up hips that stop you from squatting properly, click on 5 Hip Stretches for Better Hip Mobility to help release the knots in your hips. Besides the benefits of squatting better and better hip health, performing strict heavy goblet squats can strengthen up both core  and leg muscles. Although, squatting can improve strength level tremendously but it can do a lot of harm than good if you don’t know what you are doing with the squats. Very often, I come across people hurting their knees and low back from doing the squats due to poor lifting techniques. And they blame it on the squats. The truth is very often it is the way they perform the squats that they hurt themselves.

In fact, squatting is considered one of the most important functional movements everyone should be able to perform. We are born to squat. If you look at the toddlers, they all squat. And if you can squat very well already, make sure you are squatting almost every day to maintain this very important human functional movement. If you haven’t been squatting well, it’s time to take a serious look at the squats and restore this movement.

toddler squats

If you are looking at building a strong foundation in your squat pattern, improve hip mobility and get stronger legs, here are the steps.

The Goblet Squat Set Up

goblet squats set up

  • Hold the Kettlebells By The Horns & keep it close to your chest
  • Have your feet at about hip width apart
  • Chest up & Root Your Feet Down
  • Straighten up your legs
  • Tense up your glutes (buttock muscles)
  • Pay attention to your ankles and not let them roll to the inside

Goblet Squats On The Descend

  • Hold the kettlebell tight in your hands
  • Inhale through the nose as you “PULL” yourself down
  • Spread the floor with your feet
  • Spread your knee joints out so they end up being in line with your feet
  • Make sure your stabilise your ankle joints and don’t let them roll inwards
  • “Pull” yourself down to the point where you can still maintain a neutral spine (that means no rounded back)

goblet squats side bottomGoblet Squats On The Ascend

  • Hold the kettlebell tight in your hands
  • Pretend you are “Leg Pressing” the floor
  • Exhale through the mouth as you PUSH the floor away from you (this gets you out of the bottom position)
  • Maintain neutral spine as you raise
  • Raise with the chest up first and not the tailbone up first (watch video below for more details)
  • Make sure your stabilise your ankle joints and don’t let them roll inwards
  • Continue to track your knee joints in line with your feet

For More Instructions On How To Do The Goblet Squats, Watch Video Below:

BTW, it’s a myth that only Asians can squat.

bigguysquats

 

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why train with kettlebellsYou might have seen this tool called kettlebells, tried it a little bit or even heard about it but not too sure whether you should train with it. Maybe  you heard mixed opinions about this tool and you heard some bad things about kettlebells. At our Get Results PT fitness training program such as the 12 Week Leaner Fitter Stronger Challenge or the 6 Week Leaner Fitter Stronger Kickstart Challenge, we  used this highly versatile tool quite heavily in our group training sessions although we do include some barbell work. So why do we like these ancient simple looking Russian fitness tool? Here are the 10 reasons why you should consider using the kettlebells.

Kettebell Is A Functional Training Fitness Equipment

When it comes to the buzzword “FUNCTIONAL” fitness training, people think that it’s about standing on a Bosu Ball or sitting on a fit ball. Functional training is not about training on unstable surface. It is about training for the high carryover effects to what you do in everyday life. Unlike the weighted machines you see in a commercial gym, your stabilisers in your joints and core muscles have to work harder with the off-center loading of the kettlebells. So why not train and be prepared for real life situation if your core muscles and stabilisers have to be in use almost 24/7.

Time-Efficient Fat Loss Tool

fat lossIf you want to hack the fat away effectively and not lose time, kettlebell is what you need. The proper use of the kettlebells work the whole body and trains movement instead of targeting individual muscles group done in conventional bodybuilding approach. When you train movement, it not only has more carryover effects to everyday living you will burn more calories and saves you more time working on more muscles all at one time. Kettlebell quick lifts such as kettlebell swings, kettlebell snatches and kettlebell cleans requires fast muscles contraction. When you contract your muscles fast, there is a preferential activation of the fast-twitch muscle fiber which is 3 to 4 times more energy costly than the slow twitch muscles used in endurance activities such as distance running.

In 2010, researchers in University of Wisconsin, La Crosse Exercise and Health Program did an informal kettlebell training study titled ““Kettlebells: Twice The Results In Half The Time” looking at the energy cost and exercise intensity of  a hardstyle kettlebell snatch training program called the Viking Warrior Conditioning. And found that the participants were burning 20.2 calories per minute which is equivalent to the running pace of 1.6km in 6 minutes (6-minute mile pace). And that is a lot of calories burnt per minutes.

Lifting kettlebells being a form of resistance training will elevate metabolism.  Improved metabolism and high caloric demand of using the kettlebells are exactly why we used the kettlebells and participants at the 12 week challenge are losing bodyfat with great success. I am sure you can see why we favour the kettlebells. The fact is most people wants to lose fat. To learn how one of our 12 week participants lost 10kg of fat in 12 weeks, go to this Leaner & Stronger in 12 weeks blogpost.

Develop Explosive Strength

A study published in Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research titled “Kettlebell Swing Training Improves Maximal And Explosive Strength” found that Hardstyle kettlebell swings performed according to the techniques detailed  in the book “Enter The Kettlebells” can improve explosive strength by 15%. In this study, the participants were swinging the kettlebells for 12 minutes twice a week for 6 weeks for 30 second work and 30 second rest. Do you want more explosive strength? Of course you do whether or not you are a recreational or professional athletes. Who doesn’t want to perform better? If you are into improving athletic performance that requires explosive strength and want  to keep things simple, the kettlebells swings can certainly do the job for you without having a bunch of bulky equipment.

Kettlebell Builds Strength

beast kettlebellOne of the most common so-called downside about the use of kettlebells is that they are not heavy enough. On its own, it is definitely not heavy enough to become powerlifting strong but definitely heavy enough for most people who wants to get stronger for everyday living. The fact is you don’t see many people pressing a 48kg kettlebell (AKA Beast) for reps or even for 1 rep. If you struggle to press the Beast or nowhere close to pressing it, is the kettlebell still too light to build strength for you? Surprisingly, the same Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research study mentioned above found that kettlebell swings improved maximum strength measured in the half squats by 12% with the same 6 week kettlebell swing training routine.

Kettlebell Boost Aerobic Capacity

An ACE-sponsored study titled “Kettlebells Kick Butt” found that training with kettlebells can boost aerobic capacity by 13.8%. Contrary to what many people believe, kettlebell is not limited to building strength. It is an excellent tool for building lungs of steel. If you are after a conditioning workout or want to work your cardiovascular system, the Hardstyle kettlebell swings & snatches will do it for you in minutes. To learn how to perform the swing, click on this Step-by-Step Kettlebell Swing Instructional blogpost.

Improves Core Strength By 70%

The same “Kettlebell Kick Butt” study found that an 8-week training program made up of kettlebell swings, kettlebell cleans, kettlebell snatches and Turkish Get Up improves core strength by 70%. Contrary to what many people, strong core is not necessary six pack abs. The core muscles run the entire length of the torso and are generally made up of  erector spinae, external obliques, rectus abdominis, multifidus,  internal obliques, transverse abdominis (TVA) and hip flexor. A strong core should be able to contract synergistically to stabilize the spine, pelvis and shoulder girdle when under loading. Kettlebell exercises when done with the right training or coaching challenges the core to do exactly that – Stabilized the spine.

Turkish Get Up (TGU)

turkish get upTGUTGU is an exercise commonly performed using a kettlebell and it is an excellent stand-alone exercise. According to world leading spine biomechanist Dr Stuart McGill, the TGU is an excellent exercise for injury prevention and performance. Some people hate the TGU and just do not get it why bother taking so much effort and time to learn this exercise. Sure it takes alot effort and time to learn the TGU but it sure teaches me to respect and learn more about my body. You just can’t do the complete Turkish Get Up without being adequately mobile in all your joints and becoming more body aware. As such, you do have to honestly address any issues that stop you from doing a complete Get Up. At Get Results PT, we found the people who are good at the Turkish Get Up hardly ever get injured. TGU is not only great exercise for developing total body strength but may well help you restore and improve the quality of how you move your body. To learn how to do a complete Turkish Get Up, click on this Turkish Get Up Step-By-Step Instructional blogpost or check out this excellent resource on how to do TGU called Kettlebells From the Ground Up.

Kettlebell Is A Great Stand Alone Training Tool

16kg kettlebellIf you got a busy life to run and wants to keep things simple, kettlebell is the right tool for you. Sure kettlebell is not the end-all-be-all but it sure have you well covered. But if your goals is to develop functional strength, improve cardiovascular fitness, developed functional core and lose body fat, the kettlebells can do all that for you. Tell me what else do most people generally train for? Pretty much these are the goals I hear all the times. However, I do feel that having a pull up bar will plug in the gap that kettlebells may not offer in terms of doing pull ups.

Convenient & Reliable Fitness Tool

In terms of convenience and reliability, it is hard to beat the kettlebells. You don’t need a lot of space and you don’t need electricity to power this equipment. In fact, there is very little maintainence work required except the occasional wipe down of the dust on the kettlebells from not using them enough. And if you got yourself a good set of kettlebells, they will outlive you. How trusty can it get?  If you go on a road trip and not want to miss training, just bring a few kettlebells with you and you are all set.

Top Strength Coaches & Personal Trainers Used Kettlebells

Top strength coaches, personal trainers & physical therapists such as Dan John, Mike Boyle & Gray Cook just to name a few use the kettlebells in their training. If these guys who are always ahead of the curve in their fields are using the kettlebells, wouldn’t that tell us that there is something about the kettlebells that we should pay attention to? In fact, these top coaches and trainers have somehow used the kettlebells the way strength coach Pavel Tsatsouline & his organisation StrongFirst are using them. To be honest, it is the way you used the kettlebells that make it a fantastic fitness equipment. The kettlebell alone is useless if you do not have the right approach. That’s why we make sure that we do not short-changed our clients by learning from the right source, learn from Pavel the best way to use the kettlebells and implement them in our training at Get Results PT.

If you live in Perth and want to learn the best way to use the kettlebells, do check us out here or click on Perth Basic Kettlebell Workshop.

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Why You Need to Get Stronger

by T C on June 5, 2014

If you are one of those people who wants to get fitter and lose fat but don’t care about getting stronger, you may have completely missed the point of training to get strong. Stronger just makes everything else easier be it fat loss, overall general fitness or athletic performance. And it is especially so when it comes to dealing with aging. Or I should say becoming stronger will make life better.

why you need to get stronger

Brett Jones, a well-known strength coach, was quoted saying,  “Absolute strength is the glass.  Everything else is the liquid in the glass.  The bigger the glass, the more of everything else you can do.” Be it that you want to get fitter (whatever the hell it means), sprint quicker, run faster, hitting the golf ball further or lose fat, you have a lot to gain from just getting stronger. BTW, if you are a lady and you ever believe one bit that lifting heavy will make you look bulkier, you will not if you do it right. We have girls lifting heavy stuff but no where near bulky. In fact, they look great. To see proof, read this blogpost.

Stronger People Are Less Likely To Get Hurt

As Mark Rippetoe Says “Strong People Are Harder To Kill Than Weak People And Generally More Useful“. Stronger people generally have stronger bones and better joint stability due to higher mechanical strength in the connective tissue around the joints. If you don’t have good joint stability, you will get hurt easily. Being stronger prevents fall too. As you get older, you will start to lose those high threshold motor unit fast twitch fibers that helps you produce force quickly. And those muscles will help you prevent a fall. Apparently, you lose about 10% of the fast twitch fiber after age of 50 every decade. And strength training to get stronger can help older individuals increased the size of fast twitch (type II) muscle fiber and improved force production. Stronger will certainly make you more useful in many ways. Imagine going to IKEA with your partners or when you are moving homes and you can’t lift a thing. It is way cool if you lift stuff rather than being helpless.

Stronger Makes You Faster & Powerful

If you don’t have strength, how fast & powerful can you get? If you played sports be it recreational or competitive that requires explosive strength or power, you do need to be strong. Although having strength to a certain level can only help develop power so much, most people in general do not have enough strength to express power to the fullest potential. I said this because we have seen everyday people who have rooms to improve their strength coming to Get Results PT who may want to pass the WA Police entry fitness test or hit that golf ball harder. We got them into strength building training program, got them stronger and their performance improves.

Stronger Makes Fat Loss Easier & Better

Yes stronger will make fat loss easier if that interest you. High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) has been believed to be the solution or holy grail to fat loss because of its ability to raise metabolism and create the “afterburn” that supposedly burn fat hours after training. But there is a problem with this HIIT approach. It can be high impact on the joints if you are not well-conditioned meaning injury risk can be high. In my opinion, it is far more effective to do HIIT if you are stronger because you will be able to push harder and further plus your joints and connective tissue will be ready to take the beatings. Your muscles will contract harder leading to more caloric expenditure and potentially raised your metabolism even more because you are working harder. If you are weak, how hard can you push before muscular fatigue sets in? How safe is it to perform HIIT?

Stronger Makes You Ripped (Also Makes Your Muscles More Functional)

When you are training to get stronger, you main aim should be developing more strength not muscle “pump” or “burn”. Therefore, you should be more concerned with the amount of weight you lift and not amount of muscle “pump” or “burn”. There are 2 types of muscle fiber growth or more accurately called “muscle fiber hypertrophy”. One type of muscle fiber hypertrophy is known as sarcoplasmic hypertrophy and the other one is called the myofibrillar hypertrophy. According to authors from both books Science & Practice of Strength Training & Supertraining, sarcoplasmic hypertrophy is commonly found in bodybuilders’ muscles and this kind of muscle fiber growth do not contribute as much as force production in muscles as much as myofibrillar hypertrophy found in strength athletes such as weightlifters. In myofibrillar hypertrophy, there is much more formation of contractile protein than fluid compared to sarcoplasmic hypertrophy. So make sure you train for strength if you want to be ripped, hard and have more functional muscles.

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If you sit down alot for work or having trouble squatting properly, the chances are your hips are tight and may not move as well as you like. Having tight hips can negatively impact both exercise & athletic performance and sometimes compromise exercise safety. If you feel that you lack the power in doing heavy kettlebell swings or kicking in martial art practice, it could be the “parking brakes” in your locked up hips that are robbing you of the power. In some instances, people have sore low back because they got tight hip flexors and would immediately feel a relief in the low back when the hips are loosened up. If you think you are one of those people with tight hips, can’t quite squat properly due to poor hip mobility, and wants to improve your performance in your exercise and athletic performance, we have 5 stretches for you to boost your hip mobility.

But be sure to follow the 4 tips below on how to get into better stretch before you try those hip stretches that follow.

(1) Stay mentally calm and not distracted

(2) Wait for tension of the stretch to go away before stretching further. In the meantime, breath deeply and slowly as you wait for the tension to go away

(3) Inhale through the nose and breath deep into the belly before exhaling through the mouth to initiate stretch further

(4) Stretch to the point where you feel comfortable and not to the point where you feel like you will be tearing yourself up

If you are ready to get your hips to perform better, squat, kettlebell swing and deadlift better, here are the 5 hip-loosening stretches we recommend that you do.

(Photos & Demonstration courtesy of Frances Moylan Perth SFG Kettlebell Instructor whom can be found on http://instagram.com/francesatgetresults )

Stretch #1 – Froggy

Froggy

1. Get down on all fours and rest your forearms on the floor

2. Keep knee joints aligned with the hips (as seen above)

3. Spread the knee joints apart as far as you can until you feel the stretch in the inner thighs (still maintain knee and hip joints alignment and ensure neutral arch on the low back)

Stretch #2 – Half-Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch

half kneeling hip flexor stretch

 

1. Set your left foot forward (as seen in the picture above)

2. Chest up and keep both side of the hips evenly square up to the front

3. Move your hips as far forward as possible and at the same time contract your right butt cheek muscles (you should feel the stretch on the hip flexor on your right which is above your right upper thigh)

4. Repeat step 1 to step 3 on the opposite side

Stretch #3 –  Splits Against the Wall

split against the wall

1. Sit upright, have your hands behind you and spread legs apart against a wall (see pic above)

2. Make sure knees do not bend

3. Feel the stretch in the inner thighs and front part of your hips

Stretch #4 – Split & Lean To The Side

lean towards the side

1. Set up stretch #3 (Split Against The Wall) and have your left hand planted down between your legs in the space on your front (see pic above)

2. Have your right hand on the floor behind your back (see pic above)

3. Hinge from your right hip joint and lean towards your right knee (avoid rounding your spine)

4. Repeat step 1 to 3 on the opposite side

Stretch #5 - Prying Squats

prying squats

1. Have your feet set up about shoulder width apart.

2. Keep your spine straight and hold onto an upright or something similar that is secured (see pic above)

3. Move your hips down to about the level below your knee joints where you can still keep your spine straight (see pic above)

4. Then start stretching the inside of the left hip by pulling the left knee to the left side as seen in the last 2 pics below.

5. Repeat on right side and then repeat again on left and so for until you feel completely stretched.

pry1

pry2Alright! If you ever give these 5 hip stretches a go or have any questions/feedback, do let us know how you go by leaving a comment below. It would be great if you would “SHARE” Or LIKE” this blogpost on Facebook.

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